It is also helpful to have a temperature monitor alarm installed. If the temperature in your empty home drops below a pre-determined minimum, the alarm will alert you to the problem.
September 17, 2018
Helpful Tips for Closing Up Your Home for the Season
Nobody wants to leave the comfort and relaxed life on Cape Cod to return home after another wonderful summer. If you are one of our many neighbors who return to the city or another part of the country once the season is over, we’ll miss you! But before you go, make sure you properly “button up” your home against the long winter ahead. Leaving your home for the seasons can become an expensive absence if things go wrong while you are away.
The biggest threat to your empty home is water in all three of its states: liquid, vapor, and solid ice.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your home safe and dry.
The water in household plumbing supply lines is under significant pressure. If a pipe or washing machine supply hose bursts, thousands of gallons of water can flood your home. To prevent this, turn off the main water shut-off valve whenever you leave for an extended period of time.
- The water that remains in your home’s water lines should be drained. Water that freezes in supply lines or traps in drainage lines can cause them to split or crack. After turning off the main water supply line, go around and open every plumbing fixture, open all valves, and flush all toilets. This will allow gravity to pull the water through the system.
- Open all outdoor faucets and spigots as well, including outdoor showers.
- Lift up any flexible spray hoses in sinks and showers and drain the trapped water in these hoses.
- Leave all valves and fixture partially open to prevent water from building up inside the pipes.
- Drain your hot-water tank.
- Pour non-toxic antifreeze into all toilet bowls, sinks, tubs, showers, washing-machine drains and floor drains. This antifreeze can be purchased at recreational vehicle or marine supply houses.
- A plumber should be called in to shut off the water outside your home. The feeder line from the street can freeze and burst if it gets cold enough inside the house during your absence.
If your home is fairly airtight, water vapor (in the form of lingering humidity) can condense once the temperature of interior surfaces begins to drop. This condensation is a perfect medium for the growth of mold. Just before you leave, open windows slightly to allow air to circulate through the house. Have a friend or neighbor visit your home every few days to check for signs of condensation. Within several weeks, the indoor and outdoor humidity should have equalized. At that point, the windows can be closed and locked.
One way to help prevent freeze-ups over the winter is to leave your heating system on, set at a low temperature (50-55°F is recommended). However, many water supply pipes on Cagpe Cod are located in basements, which can be much colder than the rest of the home. In that case, raise the setting by 5-10° to be safe.
It is also helpful to have a temperature monitor alarm installed. If the temperature in your empty home drops below a pre-determined minimum, the alarm will alert you to the problem. You can also have the alert sent to a local heating company who can respond more quickly to fix the issue.
Here are a few other tips for a safe winter season:
- Turn off all non-essential electrical circuit breakers. Only leave on those circuits that control security systems.
- Unplug all appliances. Electrical fires can and do happen even when an appliance is is in the “off” position.
- Empty all perishable food from your refrigerator.
- Turn off your natural gas or propane supply valve outside your house if at all possible. Contact your local utility company or fuel supplier for help with this job.
- Notify your local police and fire departments before you leave. Be sure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
Need help closing up your summer home? Call us at (508) 388-1009 to schedule a visit from our licensed plumbers and heating technicians.
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